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Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Australia receives A$70 million for infrastructure replacement

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Australia receives A$70 million for infrastructure replacement

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre (Pawsey) based in Perth,
Western Australia is receiving
A$70 million from the Federal Government in funding for the replacement of
infrastructure.

According to the
press release from the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, the funds will be used to
procure a replacement for Pawsey’s flagship supercomputer, Magnus, as well as
the real-time supercomputer, Galaxy, as both systems, are close to the end of
their operational lives.

Magnus, a Cray XC40,
is considered to be one of the most advanced supercomputers in the southern
hemisphere.  Galaxy is dedicated to the operational requirements of the
Australian Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder telescopes, Australian
Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and
the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).

Pawsey is a
collaboration hub currently serving more than 1,500 active researchers from
across Australia, involved in more than 150 supercomputing projects to deliver
scientific outcomes. Nine Australian
Research Centres of Excellence
benefit from Pawsey’s infrastructure and
expertise.

This investment is
expected to enable Pawsey to continue to drive innovation and accelerate
discoveries in medical science, engineering, geoscience, marine science,
chemistry, food, agriculture and more.

Welcoming the news
of the funding, the Chair of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Mr John
Langoulant AO, said, “Today’s announcement, together with last year’s
investment into the National Computational Infrastructure located in Canberra,
will strengthen Australia’s position in the global research environment and
enable Australia to stay globally competitive.”

In December 2017 the
Federal Government allocated
A$70 million to the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) High
Performance Computing (HPC) facility to replace its supercomputer. Upgrading Australia’s
HPC facilities was a key recommendation in the National
Research Infrastructure Roadmap
developed under the leadership of the Chief
Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO and delivered to the Government in February 2017.

NCI and Pawsey are
currently Australia’s two Tier 1 HPC research facilities (defined as a
large-scale national facility; Tier-0 supports an entire region, such as PRACE in Europe, and Tier 2 primarily
supports specific institutions or disciplines). Both HPC facilities are on the
TOP500 list, which ranks the top 500 most powerful computers in the world, but
their positions are slipping. The international ranking awarded through the
TOP500 is a proxy for the value, or capability, available to researchers.

The Roadmap noted
that significant upgrades are required to this HPC infrastructure to meet
future computation and data needs and that each facility has supporting
physical infrastructure and expert staff that will need to be simultaneously
maintained and developed.

“This is a
reflection of the government’s understanding of the value that the Pawsey
Supercomputing Centre delivers to the Australian scientific landscape by
accelerating innovation and increasing opportunities for engagement between
Australian researchers and their peers internationally”, Mr Langoulant commented.

During this new
phase, Pawsey staff will continue to engage with Australia’s researchers to
identify their needs which will inform the configuration of the next systems.
The procurement process for the capital refresh will commence immediately and
the new infrastructure is expected to be available from 2019.

Ugo Varetto, Pawsey
Acting Executive Director, said, “It is an exciting time to be at the Pawsey
Supercomputing Centre. The investment in Pawsey will have a positive impact on
the Australian research community. The Centre has already been accelerating
scientific outcomes and will now be able to solve even bigger scientific
problems.” 

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